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Downtown Girl (and also Downtown Boy) is an aesthetic that revolves around the romanticization of living in the downtown of a city, specifically in New York. The aesthetic is especially popular on Pinterest and TikTok, where users compile images of women and men who would fit such the aesthetic and create outfits.

Visually, it involves a more cozy, almost autumnal view of cities and emphasizes having a cultured lifestyle of visiting museums, cafรฉs, and meeting friends, as opposed to a more "street" style, which is described in Urbancore. However, it also incorporates elements of Grunge, with the laid-back attitude and admiration for the music and visual culture of that community. It also takes a lot of inspiration from Twilightcore, an aesthetic that is inspired by a gloomy interpretation of 2000s fashion.

It contrasts the Uptown Girl aesthetic in that it is more casual and does not involve as many markers of wealth and hyper-femininity. It is often grouped with Coquette due to common features such as Lana Del Rey music and Brandy Melville clothing, but it has a different clothing style and a different color scheme.

History[]

The term "downtown" originates from the United States and is commonly used to refer to the central area of cities. The reputation of downtowns being a place for alternative, countercultural people interested in art and literature emerged in the 1970s and 1980s in New York, specifically in neighborhoods like SoHo (South of Houston Street) and the East Village[1]. Avant-garde artists, poets, and writers contrasted the grunge-y, dangerous streets, which is a romantic image.

The aesthetic also takes inspiration, at times, from Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, and old southern port cities like Charleston and New Orleans. The appeal of these cities came from them possessing the markers of cultural sophistication, such as museums, cafes, fashion, and a distinctive local culture in contrast to suburbs and rural areas. Another aspect of the appeal is the blend of cultures, socio-economic classes, etc. that led to urban aesthetics often involving blends between high and low culture.

This fascination with downtown living has often been a motif in popular culture, including TV shows such as Friends and Sex in the City, music based on urban genres, and literature themed around urban living.

The "Downtown Girl" and "Downtown Boy" aesthetics began to emerge on social media, found predominantly on TikTok and Pinterest approximately in 2022. Like other social media aesthetics, it revolves around the creation of short videos and images focusing on aspirational fashion and lifestyles of teenagers and young adults.

Many concurrent trends influenced the look of Downtown Girl. For example, the revival of 2000s fashion[2], trendiness of the brand Brandy Melville, and the rise in grunge fashion are connected to this aesthetic.

Visuals[]

The most important visual aspect is images of cities themselves. The architecture of cities, with their great height, balconies, fire escapes, and extreme proximity, are common in the background photos of outfits. Subways and buses are also heavily featured, with the windows being places to capture the city and add a romantic image to the girl looking out of them. Scaffolding is also common, and adds a grunge and industrial element. The different "icons" of a city also tells the viewer the specific city the person is in- for example, the yellow cabs of New York or the Haussman architecture of Paris.

The cities themselves are most often rainy or in darker periods of the day. The aesthetic in general is more intimate, as opposed to sunny and open. Autumn is also an important element of the aesthetic. Fallen leaves, hot coffee, and sweaters are some of the most common photos in the aesthetic, and can even be featured in the music ("We Fell in Love in October" by Girl in Red, "Autumn in New York" sung by various jazz singers, etc.)

Downtown Girls' and Boys' photos most often feature themselves visiting locations that have a hip, bookish vibe that matches the Bohemian and vintage connotations of being in a Downtown area. Specifically, places that sell secondhand goods and traditional media: bookstores, thrift shops, and record shops are the most favored.

As the Internet becomes more common, these stores are harder to come by and are more exclusive to cities. Like the 2014 hipster era, possessing and admiring traditional and older media is seen as cool and unique. Images of people reading books is a common photo, especially with books that appear older and more artistic in subject.

Likewise, all sorts of cameras, as opposed to the cameras from a phone, are featured and imply that the person in the photo has the hobby of photography. Photographers are also common in cities and are a more artistic and adventurous endeavor.

Music's visual culture is also prominent, as this aesthetic values having an admiration and ability to create music. And as previously discussed, physical media with a vintage feel is valued; this is reflected in CDs, vinyls, over-the-ear headphones, and earbuds are some examples, with the latter two even being used as accessories in outfits. Electric guitars and basses are some common instruments in photos, as those are the instruments played in old rock-and-roll, grunge, and other older counter-cultural music movements. Old posters and band tees are also collected, often in a manner that looks cluttered and cozy.

Fitting in with the busy and urban lifestyle, coffee is photographed, both held in disposable paper cups for on-the-go, and in cafรฉs, which are a thing noted for being a more city-oriented place that attracts people that are traditionally more introverted and intellectual.

The aesthetic also includes domestic and cozy scenes. Cats, bedsheets, and people generally relaxing are often in photos, providing a break from the busier images of small stores and cluttered streets. On TikTok, there is also more of a focus on bedroom decorations, which allows people who do not live in cities to join in on the aesthetic.

However, nightlife is also a major part of cities and youth culture, and thus a major part of the aesthetic. But rather than photos explicitly showing clubbing or concerts, the photos are of after the event, with girls and their friends walking in the streets at night in their fancier outfits.

Fashion[]

The Downtown Girl fashion often tends to include:

  • Oversized clothing
  • Graphic or band tees
  • Leather jackets
  • Mini skirts
  • Doc Martens
  • Dark red nail polish
  • Converse
  • Headphones
  • Claw clips for hair
  • Mary Janes
  • Eyeliner
  • Sweaters
  • Combat boots

Activities[]

  • Learning an instrument
  • Writing and/or reading poetry
  • Reading
  • Annotating books
  • Sketching
  • Decorating your room
  • Dancing to obscure music in your bedroom
  • Going thrifting
  • Listening to music on a record player
  • Going to a dance club
  • Taking pictures of your friends on a digital camera
  • Listening to music in public
  • Dancing in the kitchen
  • Going to a cafรฉ
  • Baking
  • Reading in a bookstore

Downtown Boy[]

Downtown boy emerged around the same time as downtown girl, and the style has a similar appearance to downtown girl but in a masculine version, omitting feminine elements such as eyeliner and Mary Janes, and incorporating more hoodies and masculine elements

Fashion[]

  • Doc Martens
  • Converse
  • Headphones
  • Sweaters
  • Combat boots
  • Oversized clothing
  • hoodies

Visuals[]

  • Headphones, especially over-the-ear
  • Cats
  • Ecobags
  • Electric guitars
  • buildings
  • stairs
  • The subway
  • Pre-loved/vintage books

Media[]

Television[]

  • Gilmore Girls
  • Gossip Girl
  • Roman Holiday
  • Little Women
  • Juno
  • Breakfast at Tiffany's
  • Derry Girls
  • Anne with an E
  • Hercules
  • Havoc
  • Sabrina
  • Sleeping Beauty
  • Save the Last Dance
  • Spider Man
  • Betty Boop
  • Funny Face
  • My Scene (Webseries)
  • Pretty Woman
  • Coraline
  • Scream
  • I Know what you did Last Summer
  • The Corpse Bride
  • Nightmare on Elm Street
  • Notting Hill
  • The Wedding Singer
  • Heathers
  • 10 Things I Hate About You
  • 500 days of summer
  • Clueless
  • How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days
  • The Proposal
  • Something Borrowed
  • Dash & Lily
  • Ackley Bridge
  • The Devil Wears Prada

Music[]

Artists[]

  • Lana Del Rey
  • Girl in red
  • Radiohead
  • TV Girl
  • The Smiths
  • Faye Webster
  • Mitski
  • Weezer
  • Nirvana
  • Harry Styles
  • Mazzy Star
  • Cage the Elephant
  • White Reaper
  • Taylor Swift
  • The Beatles
  • Arctic Monkeys
  • The Neighborhood

Resources[]

external links to help get a better understanding of this aesthetic.

Social Media[]

Vendors[]

Playlists[]

Gallery[]

Downtown Girl[]

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